Leipzig (Jul. 14)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
A renewal of a strenuous anti-Semitic campaign through the exploitation of internationally famous forgeries of Russian origin was announced by the Hammer-Verlag, the company headed by Theodor Fritsch, notorious leader of the German anti-Semites.
The publishing house has issued an announcement of the forthcoming publication in German of the “Book of the Kahal” by the Russian Jewish convert of the latter half of the nineteenth century, Jacob Brafmann. The book is one of the prototypes of the forgeries upon which the latest anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was based.
The translation from the Russian original was made by Dr. Sigfried Passarge, assistant professor of geography at the University of Hamburg. The Hammer publishing house issued invitations to German anti-Semites to subscribe toward a fund necessary for the publication of the book, the contents of which have long since been proven nothing but a forgery and calumny of the Jewish people.
In announcing the publication and inviting subscriptions to the fund, the publishing house states:
“He who wishes to conquer the adversary against whom he is engaged in battle must first know him. Until now, as Heine daringly said, ‘of the Jews we knew only their beards.’ As to the rest they remained a puzzling mystery to us. The result of this was that we were politically, economically and mentally on the defensive. With the publication of Brafmann’s work, anti-Semitism proceeds to the offensive.”
Jacob Brafman, who, upon his conversion to the Greek Orthodox faith was charged by the Holy Synod of the church with the task of devising means of spreading Christianity among the Jews in Russia, joined the ranks of the Jewish apostates who have maligned their people. He was perhaps the originator of the libel that there are Jewish bodies in existence which seek the acquisition and exploitation of power over non-Jews. He first made this charge in a series of articles published in 1867 in a Russian newspaper. These articles were followed by the “Kniga Kahala” The Book of the Kahal) published in Vilna in 1869.
The book is divided into four parts, purporting to deal with the transactions of the kahal of Minsk (“kahal” derived from the Hebrew for community, assumed in Russian the significance of “board of community”). The documents, which Brafmann claimed to have found in the archives of the board of education of Vilna, extended from 1794 to 1803. The book also contains annotations on the transactions, in which the author interpreted them arbitrarily, asserting that all the illegalities contained therein are in constant vogue among the kahals, and are in consonance with the very principles of the Jewish religion.
The “Kniga Kahala” created a great sensation and the Russian press devoted many columns to it. Impartial critics dissected the book and discovered that the “transactions” were simple forgeries. Among many proofs of their falsity, the most interesting is that given by Sheroshevski, who pointed out that a third of the transactions were dated on Saturdays or feast days, when writing is prohibited.